Lichfield: 13th April

Being Tuesday, left Bradby for Lichfield, 16 miles from Buxton. All the way the road is quite level, a fine country. Some very good farming; canals in every corner; everything carried by water – corn, oats, and dung. Roads all very broad and well kept. All over the country the workmen wear white “hardin” frocks, and the women wear gipsy hats, broad-brimmed, and not more than one inch deep in the crown; they have a very curious appearance. Women just now working in the fields, gathering up stones or picking weeds, have 7d or 8d a day. At Bradley I saw four stacks of hay standing, 5000 stones each, and two more, all of last year’s growth. They are all fine in quality, but all taken from old “swade.” Lichfield is a very pretty town; there they have one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have seen. The paintings on glass are exceedingly well done. The spire, from the foundation to the top of the vane, is nearly 300 feet. The soil here is light, sharp, and very fit for turnips; but they grow very few. Still the fences are of the old jungle fashion.

Lichfield SS



From Lichfield to Birmingham, 17 miles. This is a large city, very well built, and has the appearance of great business. Owing either to the nature of the brick or the smoke of so many furnaces, it has a much darker appearance than Manchester or Derby. By the returns given, the population is 71,000; but from the best information this place is upon the decline. The streets in general are narrow, and there is not the same degree of cleanliness observed as in many other places. The pavements are all a very hard stone, and disagreeable to walk upon. On this stage I saw a great deal of common ground, several hundred acres all lying as level as sea beach; the half of it overrun with whins, but of a kind that never gets up to high bushes. They have large quantities of sheep pasturing on them, but a kind of mixture of every breed, and with different marks. They are all in bad condition. The soil is dry, with a mixture of fern or bracken amongst the whins, the very best of soil for improvement. It is wonderful that nothing can be devised, for arranging the properties contiguous, so as to get the comrnons divided and improved. It would be a great advantage to the community at large.


From Birmingham to Hawkley, 11 miles. This is but a small place. Here there is a very elegant inn. The ostlers here, as indeed at every inn on the road, are wonderfully attentive. When you alight they wash the horse’s feet; and stay as short a time as you may, the saddle is taken off, the horse well rubbed, and when you mount, tail and mane combed. Indeed, when you mount you cannot help thinking your horse is improving every stage. The soil on this stage differs little from that last described; I think it worse if anything. Rents here average 1s per acre free to the proprietor; but in bad years, poor rates and others payable by the tenant, it will be double that amount. Few or none have leases, yet they mostly continue in their farms for generations. Still, they are at mercy; and it mars improvement.

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